Public Health Nutrition

Nutrition and Health

Fast-food and commercial baked goods consumption and the risk of depression

Almudena Sánchez-Villegasa1a2 c1, Estefania Toledoa2, Jokin de Iralaa2, Miguel Ruiz-Canelaa2, Jorge Pla-Vidala3 and Miguel A Martínez-Gonzáleza2

a1 Centre for Health Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, PO Box 550, CP 35080, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

a2 Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain

a3 Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, Clinic of the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain


Objective Whereas the relationship between some components of diet, such as n-3 fatty acids and B-vitamins, and depression risk has been extensively studied, the role of fast-food or processed pastries consumption has received little attention.

Design Consumption of fast food (hamburgers, sausages, pizza) and processed pastries (muffins, doughnuts, croissants) was assessed at baseline through a validated semi-quantitative FFQ. Participants were classified as incident cases of depression if they reported a physician diagnosis of depression or the use of antidepressant medication in at least one of the follow-up questionnaires. Cox regression models were fit to assess the relationship between consumption of fast food and commercial baked goods and the incidence of depression.

Setting The SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra – University of Navarra Follow-up) Project, Spain.

Subjects Participants (n 8964) from a Spanish cohort.

Results After a median follow-up of 6·2 years, 493 cases of depression were reported. A higher risk of depression was associated with consumption of fast food (fifth (Q5) v. first quintile (Q1): hazard ratio (HR) = 1·36; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·81; P trend = 0·003). The results did not change after adjustment for the consumption of other food items. No linear relationship was found between the consumption of commercial baked goods and depression. Participants belonging to consumption quintiles Q2–Q5 showed an increased risk of depression compared with those belonging to the lowest level of consumption (Q1; HR = 1·38; 95 % CI 1·06, 1·80).

Conclusions Fast-food and commercial baked goods consumption may have a detrimental effect on depression risk.

(Received January 31 2011)

(Accepted June 16 2011)

(Online publication August 11 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Email